Dogged Importunity

Don Cormack, in his book, “Killing Fields, Living Fields” recounts a powerful illustration of determined and effective prayer:

“One day, as I stood interpreting for one of the only two doctors at a place called Klong Wah where thousands needed immediate attention, a little lad of about eight came up to me calling, ‘Uncle, uncle, please come and help me carry my older brother over here where he can be given medicine.’ The boy explained that the brother, about twelve, was lying a good two kilometers away in the bush, unconscious in a malaria coma. But I could not just walk away from my responsibilities as interpreter and the enormous task I already had on my hands trying to care for hundreds of dying people right here…. How could I justify going so far and using up so much valuable time for just one?

The boy, however, would not be put off. He persisted in crying out after me, till I finally steeled myself and ignored him…. After about an hour of pleading, he fell silent, deep in thought. He knew that I was the only lifeline there was to save his brother’s life. Next thing, I felt a pair of sinewy arms grip me round the legs, and a pair of ankles lock around mine. And there he clung like a leech… His lips were sealed. He clearly was not going to let go his vice-like grip on my legs till they followed him to that place where his brother lay dying. I was thus compelled to go with him… His dogged importunity had gained him the victory.

I reflected as I pursued him through the trees that this was surely what serious believing Christian prayer was all about.

The older brother’s life was saved.”

The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. (James 5:16b NASB)

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